NY prosecutor files civil rights suit against Weinstein

New York’s attorney general (AG) Eric Schneiderman filed a civil-rights lawsuit against The Weinstein Company (TWC) claiming the studio did nothing to stop its co-founder and disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein as he ran roughshod over his employees while pursuing his sexual conquests for over a decade.

The lawsuit was filed on Sunday after a four-month investigation into dozens of allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein.

The 38-page suit named Weinstein, his brother Bob Weinstein, and TMC.

It claimed that the company repeatedly violated state and New York laws and failed to protect its employees from years of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault and intimidation.

It described how three groups of female employees helped Weinstein in his sexual conquests. One group, known as ‘wing women’, accompanied him to events to facilitate his sexual conquests.

The second group had to follow various steps to facilitate his sexual activity, including maintaining space on his calendar. A third group was required to meet his prospective victims — vulnerable girls, aspiring models and actresses.

The schedules marked as ‘personals’ by Weinstein’s assistant on his calendar, was a codename for sexual encounters.

His assistants were allegedly required to possess copies of a document known as the ‘Bible,’ a guide to Weinstein’s likes and dislikes with a list of his “friends” and directions for assistants on how to arrange his extensive and frequent ‘personals’.

According to the lawsuit, although Weinstein was fired from the company he co-founded with his brother last fall, he remains a shareholder.

 Sale of TMC blocked

The lawsuit filed on Sunday stopped the imminent sale of the studio to an investor group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet for $500 million.

Schneiderman said Weinstein’s victims should be compensated if the studio is to be sold.

As part of the deal, a $50 million fund was to be created to handle any claims against TWC not covered by insurance.

The AG’s office said the proposed terms of the deal did not set aside enough money to ensure victims are sufficiently compensated.

The lawsuit called for civil penalties of $500 to $250,000 for each violation of law to be paid to the state of New York; restitution and damages be paid to the victims; freeing women from any nondisclosure agreements they have signed; and prohibiting any business deals that would allow the Weinsteins to evade compliance.

Weinstein’s defence attorney, Benjamin Brafman, and spokesperson Sallie Hofmeister could not be reached for comment.